Senate Democrats

Republicans’ Rough Day: News Coverage Spotlights How Republicans’ Plan Would End Medicare, Raise Health Care Costs For Seniors

Overwhelmingly Negative Coverage Of Ryan Budget Exposes Radical Plans To “End Medicare,” “Shift Healthcare Costs To Elderly,” “Force Seniors To Pay More For Healthcare” – Probably Not What Republicans Were Hoping For

Wall Street Journal: Ryan Plan Would Mean “Higher Out-Of-Pocket Costs And Greater Limits To Coverage.” “The House Republican plan for overhauling Medicare would fundamentally change how the federal government pays for health care, starting a decade from now, likely resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs and greater limits to coverage for many Americans. … House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s solution is to end the current Medicare program for people born in 1957 and after.”  LINK

Associated Press: CBO: GOP Budget Raises Health Costs For Retirees.Most future retirees would pay more for health care under a new House Republican budget proposal, according to an analysis by nonpartisan experts for Congress that could be an obstacle to GOP ambitions to tame federal deficits.” LINK

Reuters: Ryan Plan Would “Shift Healthcare Costs To Elderly Recipients.” “The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, in its analysis of the Ryan budget, cautioned that some of the Medicare proposals would shift healthcare costs to elderly recipients. Similarly, Medicaid changes would shift some costs to the states, which already are cash-strapped.” LINK

USA Today: GOP “Taking A Huge Political Risk,” Privatized Medicare “Would Cost Beneficiaries More Or Offer Them Less.” “Republicans unveiled a budget-cutting plan Tuesday that would dramatically revamp the twin health care pillars of the Great Society, taking a huge political risk that could reverberate all the way to November 2012 and beyond.Medicare, the government-run health insurance program covering about 47 million seniors and people with disabilities, would be run by private insurers and would cost beneficiaries more, or offer them less. Medicaid, the federal-state program covering more than 50 million low-income Americans, would be turned over to the states and cut by $750 billion over 10 years, forcing lesser benefits or higher co-payments. Social Security eventually would be cut, too.” LINK

Washington Post: Ryan Plan Would “End Medicare” As We Know It. “House Republicans announced a far-reaching vision for a leaner federal government on Tuesday, presenting a 2012 budget blueprint that would privatize Medicare for future retirees, cut spending on Medicaid and other domestic programs, and offer sharply lower tax rates to corporations and the wealthy… Starting in 2022, Ryan also would end Medicare as an open-ended entitlement for new retirees and begin slowly raising the age of eligibility from 65 to 67.” LINK

Politico: Prominent Expert Cited By Ryan As Validator Does Not Back His Plan. “Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) touted the help of former Clinton adviser Alice Rivlin — ‘a great, proud Democrat’— in promoting a key Medicare provision in his budget proposal Tuesday. The only problem? Rivlin said she told the Republican she doesn’t support the final version of the measure he wrote into his budget — a provision Ryan referred to generally as the ‘Ryan-Rivlin’ plan when rolling out his sweeping economic blueprint. ‘We talked fairly recently and I said, ‘You know, I can’t support the version that you have in the budget,’ Rivlin said in an interview with POLITICO. ‘I don’t actually support the form in which he put it in the budget.’” LINK

Los Angeles Times: Ryan Plan “Would Force Seniors To Pay More For Their Healthcare.” “The largest savings in their plan would come from slashing popular programs that cover about 100 million Americans. The GOP proposal would phase out direct payments to doctors and hospitals under Medicare, scale back the Medicaid program for the poor and disabled, and throw out government insurance subsidies that the new healthcare law is to make available to millions of Americans starting in 2014. That would force seniors to pay more for their healthcareand would likely make states cut back their Medicaid programs, the Congressional Budget Office concluded.” LINK

Roll Call: Ryan’s Plan “Would Still Add More That $8 Trillion To The National Debt.” “House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint released Tuesday morning cuts $6.2 trillion in spending and $1.8 trillion in taxes relative to President Barack Obama’s 10-year plan, setting up a major clash over Medicare, Medicaid and domestic spending.Still, while the plan envisions paying off the national debt sometime after 2050 principally by squeezing spending on health care and other programs, it would still add more than $8 trillion to the national debt over the next decade — reaching $23 trillion in 2021. Indeed, the plan does not come close to balancing the budget in any year over that span.” LINK

Dana Milbank, Washington Post: Ryan’s Proposal “Isn’t A Serious Budget,” “Fails At The Central Mission Of Ending The Deficit.” “The document released by the chairman of the House Budget Committee isn’t a serious budget proposal because it fails at the central mission of ending the deficit and taming the debt. Without question, Ryan makes some severe cuts: Taking hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, ending the Medicare entitlement,and slashing planned spending on transportation, energy, education, veterans benefits, agriculture payments, counterterrorism and more. Yet for all these cuts, the Republicans’ plan increases the federal debt by more than $8 trillion over the next 10 years, and it continues federal budget deficits until nearly 2040. Under the proposed balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that Ryan and his Republican colleagues claim to support, Ryan’s budget wouldn’t be in compliance for at least the next quarter century.” LINK

Kaiser Health News: CBO: Seniors Would Pay Much More For Medicare Under Ryan Plan.Seniors and the disabled would pay sharply more for their Medicare coverage under a new plan by House Republicans aimed at curbing the nation’s growing deficit, a Congressional Budget Office analysis shows. For example, by 2030, under the plan, typical 65 year olds would be required to pay 68 percent of the total cost of their coverage, which includes premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs, according to CBO.  That compares with the 25 percent they would pay under current law, CBO said. The GOP budget proposal also would raise the eligibility age for the politically popular program – and repeal big chunks of the health care overhaul law approved by Congress last year.” LINK

Talking Points Memo: Paul Ryan’s Absurdly Optimistic Budget Projections Draw Widespread Ridicule. “Even as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) proudly touted his ‘fact-based budget’ and decried Democrats’ ‘budget gimmicks’ yesterday, he prominently cited the think tank’s absurdly rosy numbers, drawing widespread mockery from economists, budget experts, and health care wonks. Even the developer of the model that Heritage used to crunch the numbers can’t figure out how Heritage reached its conclusions. ‘The Heritage numbers are insane,’ MIT economist Jonathan Gruber said in an interview with TPM. As Paul Krugman put it, Heritage’s take ‘depends an awful lot on unicorn sightings — a belief in the impossible.’” LINK

Politico: Ryan’s Plan A Predicament For GOP. “Either a sudden surge of studiousness is sweeping through battleground districts, or these Republicans can smell the danger. There’s plenty of reason to be cautious: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last month showed fewer than a quarter of Americans supported cutting funds for Medicare and fewer than a third wanted to cut Medicaid — numbers that Republican pollster Bill McInturff called a ‘huge flashing yellow sign to Republicans.’” LINK

National Journal: GOP Hopefuls “Walking a Political Tightrope” Away from “Radical” Medicare Cuts.Nowhere are the reforms more radical than on Medicare, and already the field of prospective Republican presidential candidates is walking a political tightrope in reaction to Ryan’s sweeping proposal to convert Medicare into a voucher-based system for people younger than 55. … a clear position on the Medicare reform proposal in 2011 could sink them and the party’s chances in 2012.” LINK

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